Posted by: atowhee | November 25, 2015


There were hundrers of Pintails and a handfull of Tundra Swans visible at Baskett Slough today.  But the highlights for me were a Peregrine, and a juvenile Northern Shrike (my first of the season). nosh-a (1280x960) nosh-b (1280x960) NOSH-C (1280x960)Both Peregrine and shrike were along Colville Road, north of Cackler Marsh.  The peregrine was in a bare tree on the south side of Baskett Butte.  The shrike was along Colville Road just east of Taverner’s Marsh.

Ducks at Baskett are now in the thousands, dabblers all except for a concentration of Common Mergansers.  Pintails seem to be the most numerous.

At E. E. Wilson Wildlife area there are many varied Thrush. One attraction for them are the many feral apple trees still bearing fruit at this date.  Some or these are exceptionally tasty…all from trees that have not be trimmed or sprayed for decades.    The trees are remnants of what must have been an orchard or perhaps the landscaping when the area was Fort Adair, an Army training camp during WW2.VATH AT EEW (1280x960)

Predator along Green Valley Road south of Tangent, OR: cat huntz (1280x960)

Posted by: atowhee | November 20, 2015


I got to do a raptor run with Paul Sullivan and friends today in north Yamhill County  Bald Eagles always make the day a good one…and I added two new county birds: a sleeping Barn Owl…in a youknowwhat…and a Common Goldeneye in the water, of =yngThese images are some of the highlights.  Above the immature Bald Eagle.  Then the female Common Goldeneye, not mostly dark bill.  Finally a Red-breasted Sapsucker busy right outside the car window. COGO-FML RBS LEANS

North Valley Rd Seasonal Ponds (Chehalem Creek), Yamhill, Oregon, US
Nov 20, 2015 11:00 AM – 11:30 AM.   10 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)  2
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  2
Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)  1, female
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)  1

Great Blue Heron
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)  2
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  X
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  X
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X

Nov 20, 2015 2:00 PM – 2:30 PM.   13 species

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  X
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  X
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  X
Barn Owl (Tyto alba)  1
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)  1
Red-breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber)  1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  X
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  X
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  2
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  X
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  X
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  X

My Yamhill County lifelist now stands at 118 species, in just over four months.  Pretty rich birding country in a small county.

Posted by: atowhee | November 19, 2015


Though the Ankeny Ruff hasn’t been seen in awhile, it got some ink from the Salem newspaper.  Here’s a link to the article.RUFF-LEFTIn this image the Ruff is the brownish bird to the left of the two grayish Greater Yellowlegs.

Posted by: atowhee | November 19, 2015


There was a Rough-legged Hawk in northern Polk County mid-day.  This bird was one about twenty yards west of Hwy 99, about a mile south of the Yamhill County Line and north of Baskett Slough.  He was outstanding in his field.

Hwy 99, Polk County, Polk, Oregon, US
Nov 19, 2015 11:20 AM – 11:45 AM.  6 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  40
Great Egret (Ardea alba)  1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  2
Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus)  1
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  3
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  500

Posted by: atowhee | November 18, 2015


There was a male Anna’s Hummingbird along the North Yamhill River this morning and a pair of Hooded Mergansers in a flooded oxbow of the lake at the south end of Wennerberg Park.  That’s in Carlton.  So far the only data in eBird is from checklists I’ve submitted in recent months.HOME PAIRD (1280x960) NOR YM RVR1The North Yamhill river is running high and muddy.  Its water is halfway up the trunks of young willows established in the riverbed during two summers of drought. NOR YM RVR2 NR YAM RVR3Purple Finches: PUFI GUD1 (1280x960) PUFI YNG

Wennerberg Park, Carlton in  Yamhill County, Oregon, US
Nov 18, 2015 11:00 AM – 11:30 AM.  11 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  60     fly over
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)  2
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  1
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  1
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  2
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  30
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  6
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  2
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  2
Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus)  8

Posted by: atowhee | November 16, 2015


POOL-FULL (1280x960) POOL-FULL2 (1280x960) POOL-FULL3 (1280x960) POOL-KINS (2) (1280x960) POOL-KINS (1280x960)You;d think with the heavy rains of late the perky Pine Siskins would be cleansed.  But they take to the bird bath and get even their downy feathers damp.  They can kick up a little shower as they splatter water high and wide.

On the feeders these bellicose midgets bully less aggressive birds like Junco and House Sparrow.SIS-GAng (1280x960) sis-gang2 (1280x960)

I expect the siskins to remain all winter.  They and the Juncos are montane birds down here tgo escape snow and cold, and dine in comfort.  Siskins are now far more numerous and aggressive than any other birds in our garden.

Song Sparrow: SOSP FACES (1280x960)Squirrel-real.  Tortoise-concrete. SQRTLE (1280x960)


At the park today a small flock of gleaners included Chestnut-backed Chickadees, a creeper and half dozen Golden-crowned Kinglet, another forest bird down in the valley for the warmth and easy dining. They were feeding right next to the turgid, grumbling waters of the Yamhill River.  Not a raging toirrent yet, more of a rumbling torrent.

Creeper heading up the trunk.CRPR (1280x960)Kestrel: KEST (1280x960)Female Belted Kkingfisher on tree trunk wedged against the old cement sides of the lock. KF ON SPAR (1280x960) P2570279 (1280x960)  P2570344 (1280x960) P2570347 (1280x960)


P2570310 (1280x960)P2570315 (1280x960)

Lafayette Locks County Park, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Nov 16, 2015 11:05 AM – 11:35 AM.  6 species

Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)  3
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  1
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)  1
Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens)  3
Brown Creeper (Certhia americana)  1
Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa)  6–#116 on my Yamhill County life list. Another species down from the evergreen forests to winter in the valley.

820 NW 19th Street, McMinnville, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Nov 15, 2015 7:00 AM.  13 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  3
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  2
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)  1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  X
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  15
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  3
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  1
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  2
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  2     one with eye disease
Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus)  30
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  X

Posted by: atowhee | November 14, 2015


Here’s the story: rare bird discovered and killed for science.  Discuss.

Surely in this age of DNA and mist-netting it is not necessary to kill a rare bird to learn what we want to know.  Besides there is much to learn from watching a living bird as opposed to simply dissecting a corpse and analyzing its biochemistry.  Let’s hope the next Moustanched Kingfisher is seen by a birder, not a biologist.

Posted by: atowhee | November 14, 2015


The Pine Siskins are now here in force, and theyt are forceful.  Aggressive little birds with more fight per ounce than the other seed-eaters.  They will confront large birds like Junco and Spotted Towhee, then they will turn on one another though as many as eight will fit onto our platform feeders at one time.  The adult siskins have bright yellow feathers in their wings; the first year birds are all brown and white, streaky but without any yellow.

Though the siskin count is climbing and now is at least at a dozen, they are still out-numbered by Juncos who arrived during late summer and seem to also keep adding to their numbers.  Gone are the waxwings of yesteryear.  The local fruit trees have all been stripped.

The siskins and juncos seem jumpy so I shot these pics thru a window, thus not very sharp.  The Red-breasted Nuthatch, one of the ones that has been around since we moved here last summer…he’s pretty cocksure and will come to a feeder even if I am only a few feet away.  “Oh, that’s just that slow-moving biped, no threat.”  I once made the mistake of playing Red-breasted Nuthatch calls when I was near a nest hole (which I quickly learned) and the male came out from the tree and attacked me.  Banged onto my hat three times before I got the message.FULL SISKN (1280x960) SIK ON GRND (1280x960) SQRL-A (1280x960) SQRL-B (1280x960) SQRL-C (1280x960)

Posted by: atowhee | November 13, 2015


It was mostly rainy while I was at Yamhill city sewer ponds in late morning.  But as soon as it stopped briefly the bird action picked.  A first year Glaucous-winged Gull headed over, going south.  Then I found a mixed flock of small gleaners, including one Mountain Chickadee.  The flock was silent except for the little honks from a lone White-breasted Nuthatch working the oaks and ash.  They were feeding above Yamhill Creek which flows south and joins the North Fork of the Yamhill River.  “Flows” may be too strong a word, seeps through logs and leaves is closer to the present condition along the stream in its nearly flat floodplain.

There were a few croaks from unseen frogs, a couple along the creek.  Others were on the margins of the vernal pools that have appeared with the last few weeks of rain.  Queen Anne’s lace persists with its blooms.

Yamhill Sewage Ponds (restricted access), Yamhill, Oregon, US
Nov 13, 2015 11:00 AM – 11:40 AM.  13 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  5
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)  120
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  30
California Quail (Callipepla californica)  20
Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)  1
Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens)  1     fly over
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  4
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  3
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  3
Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli)  1     in with Black-capped
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  1

RC Kinglet 1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  15
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  1

The gull AND Mtn. Chickadee were new county birds for me, giving me a 115 total on my Yamhill lifelist, all since we moved here four months ago.  Still need that scoter down at Sheridan.

Posted by: atowhee | November 9, 2015


A visit to the Sacramento National  Wildlife Refuge in late autumn or winter always pulls at the edges of any definition of the word “many.”  There were “many” ducks and geese in temporary residence.  There were a few raptors and a singular Loggerhead Shrike during my visit on Sunday in drizzle and fog.DUX TAKE OFF P2560984 (1280x960) Mallards, Pintail, Wigeon, from left to right.  Below: Shoveler, Coot, Gadwall pair, Pintail female seen from the rear. W-FOWL W-FOWL2Coots, Shoveler, Gadwall. below: Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard among the White-fronted Geese on a berm. W-FOWL3 W-FOWL4 WHIT-FRNTPheasant next to the road.PHEAS-ALet sleeping Cinnamon teal lie.cinte sleepz CORAS CPLRaven pair together, lone Eared Grebe. EG GADWGadwall male above. Gaggle of grebe below grebs (1280x960) GWFG

Back row: Herring and Rng-billed Gulls, middle a few White-fronted Geese, lone male Shoveler obvious in front poolGWFG2Loggerhead Shrike. LOSH-SACTOOne of three Peregrines I saw there. P2570096 (1280x960) PERIE1 PERIE2 PHEAS (1280x960)Red-tail giving me “the look.” RTH-THE LOOKCongress of Gadwall. SCADS OF GADSPintails, Cinnamon Teal tucked in. sleepersYokung Bald Eagle on his lonely hillock, surrounded at a safe distance by thousands of potential meals. YNG-BALD1 (1280x960) YNG-BALD3 (1280x960)

Sacramento NWR, Glenn, California, US
Nov 8, 2015 12:30 PM – 1:45 PM.  40 species

Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)  10000
Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens)  100 [the winter’s usual suply of white geese have not yet arrived]
Ross’s Goose (Chen rossii)  500
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  120
Gadwall (Anas strepera)  12000
American Wigeon (Anas americana)  20000
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  2000
Cinnamon Teal (Anas cyanoptera)  4
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)  15000
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)  30000
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)  500
Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)  300
Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)  8
Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)  20
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  4
Great Egret (Ardea alba)  8
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)  1
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  2
Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)  3
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  4
American Coot (Fulica americana)  10000
Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus)  20
Long-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus)  6
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  15
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)  30
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  6
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  1
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  1
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)  3
Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)  1
Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)  1
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  2
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  2
Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris)  3
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)  200
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  3
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  300
Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)  15
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)  200

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